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by Pat McDermot

Ireland's Princess Talty learns that Imi Yamada, her late husband's aunt, has sadly passed away.
She also learns that the English lowlife who turned her life upside down is planning to invade Ireland.
Talty knows where to go for help.
While in Japan for Imi's funeral, she visits her former International Security Forces commander,
a savvy cloak-and-dagger man.

* * * * *

The familiar sight of Ron Chambeau’s offices eased Talty’s distress. Ron kissed her cheek and scolded her for not telling him she was coming.

“I didn’t know I was coming myself.” She settled into the chair beside his desk. “I only learned of Imi’s death two days ago.”

“From what I hear, you’re her main beneficiary.”

“You probably know more about it than I do. She not only left me her house, she left me some fairly substantial funds. And you’re going to help me spend them.”

“Yeah? What’s this all about, Major Princess?”

Affecting a snobbish air, Talty crossed her legs. “I’ve grown accustomed to traveling in my husband’s private helicopter. I’d like one at my disposal, and I want the best. Soundproofing, a gourmet galley, leather seats, air conditioning, night-flying, retractable weapons. You know.”

Ron’s eyes slowly narrowed. “The Bellwether Sachem?”

“The Bellwether Sachem.”

“You’re full of beeswax, little girl! You might be a princess, but you’re the farthest thing from muckity executive accommodations I’ve ever seen. If you don’t tell me what you’re up to, you can take your cute little butt right out of here. If fact, I ought to smack it and boot you out!”

Talty had missed Ron. “You told me once, ‘You can’t keep peace without teeth.’ In Ireland we say, ‘Don’t show your teeth until you can bite.’ I’m hungry, Ron.”

“What the hell are you thinking of doing with a gunship?”

“Keep peace, I hope. I heard a rumor about a threat to Irish oil wells.”

“Shouldn’t you let Kieran and your uncle deal with the Wessex gang?”

So he’d heard it too. “Maybe, but I’m a Fian warrior. It’s my duty to help protect Ireland—with the right tool for the job, of course.”

“Yeah? If ISF catches you supplying arms to a sovereign nation, they’ll not only court-martial you, they’ll take your CO down with you. Maybe it’s a good thing you don’t work for me anymore.”

He looked so comically ferocious, she almost laughed. He tapped his fingers on the desk. His eyes bored into her until the tapping stopped. “All right, Major Princess. I’ll get you the bird. We can bill it as executive transport. As for the rest, you better never say where it came from.”


“These things are expensive.”

“As you noted, I now have an abundance of disposable income. How long will it take to negotiate purchase and delivery?”

“About six weeks.”

“Who do I talk to?”

Plainly enjoying himself now, Ron leaned back and set his feet on his desk. “Don’t you know? Bellwether was one of Eric Yamada’s subsidiaries. That’s how we got connected with Ryota Sasaki for the weapons. His brother Kiyoshi? Your good buddy who taught you all that ninja stuff? He owns most of Bellwether now.”

Talty’s jaw dropped. “I knew Eric had different companies. He seldom discussed them, though. This is incredible! And it’s not ninja stuff.”

“Yeah, right. Kiyoshi is your man, but you’ll need me to get the peripherals transported and delivered if you’re doing it on the QT.”

“I’ll speak to Kiyoshi. After I settle Imi’s estate, I’m leaving for Ireland.”

“How do I reach you?”

“I’ll have to contact you. I’ll be staying at Eric’s house in Malahide. It’s mine now. I don’t know the number, or even if there is a number. Maybe I’ll pick up a cell phone.” She waited while Ron made notes on a pad of paper.

“I always did like a challenge,” he said at last. “Did I ever tell you Kieran said you were a pretty sharp kid?”

She smiled. He had.



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